2019 NFL Draft Analysis: Wide Receivers
Every week up until the 2019 NFL Draft on April 25, The Barber’s Chair will post weekly scouting reports of the top prospects to watch in this year’s selection class. The players are listed in no particular order. The heights and weights of each athlete were gathered from NFL.com’s official Combine results page.
Ole Miss | 6’0”| 226 lbs
Strengths: Intelligent route-runner that commands targets. Averaged over seven catches per game in 2018. Will always get open in a zone or soft coverage. Has good hands and can improvise. Focuses on getting open every play rather than aiming for a home run. Found success against highest level of competition.
Weaknesses: Worked mostly in the slot. Teams may want to move him around. Fast but wont take the top off a defense. Rarely faced press coverage. Not sure if he can out-muscle someone.
Pro Comparison: Jarvis Landry
Ole Miss | 6’3” | 228 lbs
Strengths: Other-worldly athlete that stole the show at the combine. Rare combination of strength and straight-line speed for someone his size. Good at come-back and hook routes. Will make you pay if he gets defensive back out of position.
Weaknesses: Often glued to the cornerback. Has a really difficult time separating against above average competition. Would disappear on film for extended periods. Only wins in softer coverage. Very limited route tree and had a few bad drops. Someone his size needs to get better at boxing out DBs for jump balls.
Pro Comparison: Sammy Watkins
One benefit of the doubt I’ll give to Metcalf is that Jordan Ta’amu, his quarterback at Ole Miss, still has a lot of room to grow in terms of accuracy and making progressions. However, once I started watching the tape, it made a lot more sense as to why his stats didn’t match his combine workout. He’s still learning to be a wide receiver. He can be a great compliment opposite of a veteran wideout but forcing him into a WR1 slot would be too much to ask right now.
Arizona State | 6’2” | 228 lbs
Strengths: Big, strong receiver that cranked out as many reps (27) as Metcalf at the combine. Good hands with the ability to create something special after the catch. Great control of his body for catch jump balls and back shoulder throws. Had his best moments and production working out of the slot. Good slants and double moves.
Weaknesses: Has a hard time beating outside corners. Rarely fools them with his route running. Worried he’ll get shut down if he doesn’t move to the slot full-time. Looks sluggish at times. Almost looks like he lost a step between seasons. That provided inconsistent tape as a result. He’ll alternate between average and superstar. Created a couple big plays where he reversed field. Hopefully that doesn’t cause big loss plays in the NFL.
Pro Comparison: Anquan Boldin, but needs to get better
Ohio State | 6’0” | 205 lbs.
Strengths: A versatile receiver with world-class speed (4.31). Used a lot with jet sweeps and can return kickoffs. Sneaky good route runner but can get even better. Doesn’t need much room to burn you after the catch. Will get open over the middle all day long. Torched a 10-1 Michigan defense (6-192-2) in every way he knew how. Ceiling could be very high in the right opportunity.
Weaknesses: Very rarely put in a position where he needed to make contested catches. Ohio State knew how to showcase his speed while hiding his lack of strength. His NFL team needs to do the same. Had a couple of stretches in 2018 with a lack of production.
Pro Comparison: Curtis Samuel
Marquise “Hollywood” Brown
Oklahoma | 5’9” | 166 lbs.
Strengths: Absolute burner that can create unreal separation behind the safeties. Not just a straight-line runner as he can be devastating after the catch. Lines up all over the line of scrimmage. Doesn’t shy away from the CB1, regardless of his size. Somehow never gets tired over the course of a game. Will find a way to get open when his quarterback needs to improvise. Refuses to get tackled. Can catch balls over the shoulder with a defender on top of him. Turns on the jets as soon as he sees a DB out of position. Not a one-trick pony. Found success running various routes rather than just streaks and deep posts.
Weaknesses: The pillowy defenses of the Big 12 gave him plenty of room to reach his top speed. Hardly ever faced a high-level press corner that could put the clamps on him. Scouts will obviously see his size as an issue. Not going to box out many guys. Needs to put on some weight so he can endure getting tackled long-term.
Pro Comparison: Tyreek Hill in T.Y. Hilton’s body